Quartz: The New Countertop Contender
With low maintenance, high durability and endless color choices, engineered quartz offers a tempting alternative to natural stone countertops.
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Despite its many advantages, installation of engineered quartz countertops isn't a job for the average do-it-yourselfer; the companies that make and sell engineered quartz certify their own installation experts.
"Installation is a bit of a pain," says Gay. "You have to obtain it from a (certified) distributor. They send people to measure and then they send installers. There's a bit of a wait involved between each of these steps."
Also, because engineered quartz is significantly heavier than other stone surfaces, there are some special installation considerations.
"It's important to make sure that you look at structural issues before installing quartz countertops, especially on upper floors" says Joe. "The installer also needs to be sure that the cabinets are sound."
The cost of engineered quartz countertops appears to be dropping as they grow in popularity and as more manufacturers make them available. In general, however, they are more expensive than laminate and comparable in price to granite, ranging from $100 to $200 per square foot.
Common brand names include Cambria, Silestone and Zodiaq, and engineered quartz countertops are now available through most kitchen design firms, as well as the major home and garden centers like Lowe's and Home Depot.
Gay Lyons says she and her husband couldn't be happier with their decision to go with quartz.
"We know lots of people with granite, but we don't know anyone else who has quartz. We love the countertops. They are beautiful and indestructible."
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